Hugh de Puisset

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Puisset, Hugh de (c.1125–95). Bishop of Durham. Puisset was a great aristocratic churchman, who held the wealthy see of Durham, with palatine powers, for more than forty years. He was a nephew of King Stephen and received his first preferment (an archdeaconry) from Stephen's brother Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester. Next, another relative, William Fitzherbert, archbishop of York, gave him the post of treasurer in the diocese. In 1153, probably before he was 30, he was made bishop of Durham. Politically he seems to have been circumspect. He stayed out of the Becket controversy and played an equivocal role in the rebellion of 1173. For years he maintained resistance to the authority of Geoffrey, archbishop of York. A hint at his essentially secular attitude came at the start of Richard I's reign, when the king was raising funds for the crusade. Hugh purchased the earldom of Northumberland and the justiciarship. He was ousted from the justiciarship by William Longchamp and surrendered the earldom in 1193. He lived in great style, built lavishly, patronized learning, and fought his corner.

J. A. Cannon

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Hugh de Puisset. See Puisset, Hugh de.